Director: Vignesh Karthick
Cast: Aishwarya Rajesh, Subash Selvam
Adhira (Aishwarya Rajesh) is very different from the female cop roles our stars usually get to play. Of course she’s tough from the outside with a razor-sharp work ethic, but at least there’s an attempt to show a human side to this otherwise uni-dimensional archetype. For instance, Inspector Adhira explains the problems she’s dealing with on the matrimonial front. She gets her share of proposals but these men are generally reserved or afraid of her profession, she adds, wondering how long it has been since she last flirted with a guy. She’s a big fan of romances like Alaipayuthey and admits she wants all the love and attention any woman her age would want. She pays the bill at restaurants and it’s obvious she earns more than Arjun (Subash Selvam), her boyfriend, but none of this is shown like it’s supposed to be a big deal.
Add a series of voiceovers, the police case setting and a couple of coffee shops and you’d be fooled to think that you’re watching a Gautham Menon film from a woman’s perspective. Instead of simply replacing a hero-oriented cop film with a female actor, there seems to be a genuine effort to rewrite her with some inner life, a set of frailties and most importantly, dignity.
But all this applies only to the first half hour or so of Plan B. After that, the film turns into a full fledged investigation with Adhira trying to find her best friend Surya (Ananya). The investigation itself has elements that are interesting like the presence of a physically challenged suspect, several confusing alibis, an accident and lots of planted evidence. But there’s something unfair about the way this information is given to us. In the name of deception, the film tells us one thing only to tell us later that it was all untrue. And when this happens a second time, you stop trusting the film, eventually leading us to gross indifference.
Red herrings come and go taking too much time and the parts that are added to show us the emotional bond between Surya and Adhira feature a series of friendship cliches that never work. The investigation becomes too convoluted and confusing to matter and by this time, we’ve lost all connection with Adhira and her love interest. But what’s most shocking is what the film tries to do with a particularly complex topic. Although well-intentioned, the film uses a sensitive topic only to create shock value and because it would lead to an expected twist.
By this point, all the dignity that was afforded to Adhira early on is taken right back and she’s treated like a naive bystander in regressive films like Idhu Enna Maayam and Remo. But the problem doesn’t even end there. Instead of tackling a complex topic with kids gloves and sensitivity, the film squanders its chance to start a conversation by reinforcing dangerous notions about something that’s already taboo.
Given the ideas it chose to deal with, the film could just have taken a far more direct approach, one Adhira herself would have appreciated, to tackle what it wanted to. Instead of doing that, we get a very unhappy marriage between an everyday thriller and an exceptionally unusual drama. Having watched it twice, I still haven’t understood what certain characters were doing in the film or why the film was called Plan B. It’s the kind of film you make when you treat a ‘cause’ like it’s a story idea without having the empathy to really understand it.